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The Role of Solar Power in Indian Agriculture

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How Can Solar Energy Benefit Indian Agriculture

India is a huge agricultural country providing employment to nearly 50% of the workforce. India is the world’s largest producer of much fresh produce and it also exports them to different countries. Agriculture accounts for almost 15% of the country’s GDP.

However, the Indian agriculture system suffers from many challenges. Almost two-thirds of India’s people depend on rural employment for a living. Uneconomical as well as unsustainable agricultural practices are amongst the factors hindering growth. Poor irrigation systems, erratic rainfall, and fragmented land further make the lives of Indian farmers difficult.

solar water pump

Most of these rural parts of India are not grid-connected, which means farmers have to depend on diesel/ kerosene to run the generators to power pumps. The solar-powered water pump can be used by farmers, which not only will reduce the cost (of kerosene/ diesel) but is also environment-friendly. Several micro and mini grids are constructed near Indian villages and rural lands to provide solar power to Indian farmer community. Solar lights have also made the lives of farmer families easy to a large extent. Children and read and women can do their household chores even after the sun sets.

With erratic/ scanty rainfall and expensive diesel-powered pumps, solar water pumps come as a boon to the Indian farmers. Though the initial cost is still on a bit higher side, prices have been going down with each passing year.

Solar in Indian Agriculture – Indian Budget 2018

In its recent budget, the Indian government has approved nearly $21 million of funds to provide solar power equipment and solar power projects in its agricultural sector over the next few years. The Centre and State governments will work hand-in-hand to implement large-scale solar power projects and mass adoption of solar pumps in the Indian agriculture sector.

Read major highlights of the Indian Budget 2018 for RE Sector.

The government is targeting to set up 10 GW of solar power projects on barren land, which will be highly subsidized. Only 10% of the total cost will be borne by the Indian farmers, the balance will be taken care by the center and state governments and banks. In addition, the government has also pledged to install 1.75 million solar-powered irrigation pumps at farms across the country. The governments will also encourage and incentivize the utility companies to buy any excess power generated by these solar power plants.

Also, read Is Solar Here to Disrupt the Utilities?


Sneha Shah

I am Sneha, the Editor-in-chief for the Blog. We would be glad to receive suggestions, inputs & comments on GWI from you guys to keep it going! You can contact me for consultancy/trade inquires by writing an email to

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